AHL ALL-STAR LOGAN STANKOVEN Q & A
By Marty Hastings
Logan Stankoven is among the most prolific Kamloops Blazers in franchise history.
The 5-foot-7, 170-pound forward from Kamloops has made a quick transition to the professional ranks, with a league-leading 51 points in 41 games for the Texas Stars, who toil in the American Hockey League.
Stankoven in his rookie season was named to the AHL Central Division All-Star Team and will compete in the AHL All-Star Classic on Sunday, Feb. 4, and Monday, Feb. 5, in San Jose, Calif.
Texas is the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, who sit third in league standings at the all-star break.
The Stars are owned by Blazers’ majority owner Tom Gaglardi.
Reporter Marty Hastings hopped on a Zoom call with Stankoven to talk about his immediate success in the AHL and desire to get to the next level.
The question-and-answer session is below and edited for length. Find video of the interview here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQZLd4-6Cyg
MH: How do you explain how quickly you’ve been able to adapt to life in the AHL?
LS: I’m not really changing much in how I play the game. I feel like my work ethic and compete have been the two things I rely upon most. Especially being a smaller guy, I’ve kind of had to adapt to the game as its went on, faster pace and bigger players as you move up in the hockey ranks. I’ve really enjoyed the season so far and I’m just trying to learn and take in as much information as possible from the coaches and anyone helping me out along the way.
MH: Was there a period of warming up to the league?
LS: I think the first few games, for sure, you never know what to expect and you don’t know what your role is going to be on a new team. Being given lots of ice time and opportunity has definitely helped, too. I’m just trying to take advantage of these opportunities as best as possible.
MH: What do you think these numbers might indicate about your ability to produce at the next level?
LS: It’s hard to say. I mean, it’s a positive sign. As you move along, things only get tougher and harder. Being able to produce at this level is a good thing and that’s all you can ask of yourself — to try and put yourself in a position to get called up.
MH: For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve always been driven by doubters. Has there been anything new this year that has stuck in your craw, that has pushed you to do what you’ve been doing?
LS: No, not really. Yeah, obviously I’m trying to prove myself, being a smaller guy. I think that’s just a constant thing for me as I go along in my career. I’m just trying to give myself the best opportunity to live out my dream and play in the NHL some day. Yeah, it would be nice to be in the NHL right now, but at the same time, it’s not a rush and I want to be fully prepared when I do get the call and, hopefully, keep working on my game down here.
MH: What about the NHL Draft? Every team in the league passed on you. Does that drive you at all, like, ‘Hey, have a look, guys, maybe you made a mistake.’
LS: Yeah. That sticks in the back of my mind, obviously. That was a few years ago now, but just proving to teams that, hey, I could have maybe been a first-rounder. That was my goal going into the draft and it didn’t happen. I was pretty disappointed about that, but it’s just about proving to everybody that, hey, I’m a smaller guy, but I can play the game and not back down.
MH: You’re going to the AHL All-Star Classic. What does that mean to you?
LS: That’ll be really good. I’m looking forward to that, getting to see some different players from across the league and some really skilled and offensively gifted players. That will be cool to be alongside some of the those guys and get to experience the all-star competition and three-on-three tourney, as well.
MH: Do you have any family coming out to San Jose for that?
LS: Yeah, I do. Both my parents. My sister has to stay back because of school. I’ll get to hang out with them for a bit.
MH: All I have to do is Google your name to see people calling for your call-up to the NHL. Is it frustrating to be leading the AHL in points and not have gotten that call yet?
LS: I think it just drives me more to try and be the best player I can be. Like I said before, you can only do as much as you can and the rest is out of your control. Dallas has had a really healthy lineup this year and they’re winning lots of games, so why change anything up there if things are working for them and they’re having a great season? It’s just about taking it day by day and staying grounded. The days go by quick, so you want to get the most out of each day at the rink and in the gym.
MH: You never want to root for anyone to get hurt, but that’s partially why you haven’t got the call. What’s that contrast like, wanting to get to the league but not wanting guys to get hurt?
LS: If an injury does happen, you want to be that next guy to get called up. They’re having a really successful season and that’s what you want as an organization, to do really well and your end goal is to play for a Stanley Cup. It would be great for me to be a part of it, but at the same time, I’m still young and it’s not really a rush right now at this moment. I’m still young and there’s lots of hockey left.
MH: A few Blazer-related questions now. Your former Blazer teammate Matthew Seminoff is your teammate now in Texas. What’s it been like having him around?
LS: It’s been awesome having him around. It’s just been really cool for me and Semmer to grow together these past five or six years since we were drafted. We’ve definitely been able to lean on each other, at times. We live in the same apartment complex here. It’s been really nice to drive to the airport together for road trips and hang out. Semmer’s game has come a long way since we were drafted. I’m really happy to see him have success. The goal is for both of us to be playing for Dallas some day.
MH: Do you guys ever cook for each other in the complex?
LS: No, we haven’t yet, but we were talking about it a few days ago. The three or four of us that are here, we should get together one night, we all bring a different food dish and watch a hockey game or something.
MH: It’s been a tougher year for the Blazers. How much attention do you pay to your old club?
LS: Yeah, I’ve seen how they’ve been doing. It’s good to see them doing well as of late. I’ve definitely been paying attention, checking out their scores and seeing how the guys are doing.
MH: Have you had time to reflect on that whole Memorial Cup-hosting season?
LS: Disappointing end, but just so many good memories. Actually, the other week, we were in Iowa playing against [Caedan] Bankier, so me, Banks and Semi went out for dinner. We had some good laughs just looking back on our 16-year-old seasons and how fortunate we were to play in the Memorial Cup. We’d all love to go back and have another shot at playoffs or Memorial Cup because we didn’t reach our end goal, but so many great opportunities we had and just really thankful to have that.
MH: Back to the AHL. What’s the ceiling for your AHL club?
LS: Hopefully, go deep in the playoffs. We’re actually the second-youngest team in the league. We’re a really young group of core guys and we do have some older guys, as well, that are really good for leadership. It would be great to go deep in playoffs, but we do have a younger team, so you can’t set the bar too high. But I think we’ve really grown over these past few weeks and as the season goes on here.